Samson of the Bible Judge of Israel

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The Biblical account of the life of Samson is found in the book of Judges Chapter 13.

Though his mother was sterile and childless yet through divine intervention, an angel appeared to her mother announcing that she will “conceived and have son” Indeed Samson was born out of God’s will and purpose, that is, to be a nazarite or “being set apart to God” and to deliver Israel from the bondage of oppression in the hands of the Philistines. In Bible history of the ancient Israel prior to Samson’s birth, Israel was conquered by the Philistines due to lack of a good leader that could unite them for war.The Philistines imposed stiff obligations and constantly oppressed them that have made all Israel hated the Philistines. Indeed, Samson had seen the oppressive measures that were imposed on them and the injuries it inflicted upon his fellow citizens while he was growing up; disliked and hated the Philistines for that reason.

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Samson was not an ordinary man as he had a peculiar strength more than the strength of one hundred men put together. His strength depended on his hair, which according to the angel who announced his birth may not be cut, as it was the sign of his being a nazarite.According to Frances Lieber and Thomas Gamaliel Samson was born “about 1155 B. C.

” He was from the tribe of Dan, one of Jacob’s eleven sons who later made up the twelve tribes of Israel. Lieber and Gamaliel pointed out that Samson began to become judge of Israel after he killed one thousand Philistines immediately after he was captured for burning the fields of the Philistines, and from then on, “Samson was judge of Israel for twenty years” But Samson’s weakness for Philistines women created much trouble both for him and for the Philistines.His love affair to Delilah, which was marred by deception and betrayal, preceded his downfall in the hands of the Philistines who then gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza where he died along with about three thousand men who gathered at the temple to muck him. Literature (history or politics) The book of Judges is itself full of important history of the different judges who had led Israel towards freedom against the oppression by the neighboring countries who conquered them.

James L. Crenshaw points out that Samson’s narrative comprises four chapters and ninety-six verses have been interpreted by critics as a solar myth. Scholars varied interpretation of the narrative however points to the fact that the narrative was historical rather than poetical despite of the presence of poetic text scattered here and there. Though the narrative does not tell the story of successful deliverance from the hands of the enemies, but it certainly tell of the history of the life of Israel under the judges.

Samson’s story was very interesting because it demonstrated how his interest with Philistine women had eventually led to the fulfillment of his duty as a nazarite. Although there were some assertion that the Samson narrative was a solar myth, but Biblical records testified that Samson was a real man and served as a judge of Israel for twenty years. All that was told about him and what he had done in the four chapters of the book of Judges prove he was part of the biblical history, and perhaps of the Jewish history of antiquity.Further more, the book of the judges was itself a historical record.

Since the Judges were also the leader of the entire community each of the Judges occupied an important part in the whole community which their every action important and therefore recorded and became part of their history. Thus Samson’s narrative was a history rather than poetry. History and Science What was happening during this time was that God was on the process of delivering His people from the hands of the Philistines as it had been foretold by the angel to Samson’s mother.God is setting the stage of deliverance through the events that that happened in Samson’s life.

First of all, the angel foretold the birth of Samson and what he was going to be, he was destined to be a liberator of Gods people. Second, The events that had transpired which began with Samson’s love affairs with Philistine women particularly with his marriage the Timnite woman has put him in trouble with the Philistines. Comfort and Elwel noted, “The Lord was seeking opportunity against the Philistines and in Samson’s case this option came trough Philistine women. The trouble that came with Samson’s riddle and the betrayal of his wife had brought initial trouble but further trouble came along when his wife was given in marriage to another man during his absence.

It was the perfect opportunity against the Philistines and these sequence of events led Samson to kill many of the Philistines. Samson’s subsequent love affair to Delilah was the culmination of his mission. It was Delilah’s charm that weaken Samson’s power to keep his nazarite vow which to his capture of the Philistines and eventual death.His realization of what God has intended for him led to his final cry.

“Let me die with Philistines” Theology Content (How does it affect us today) The theology of the narrative lies in the words of the angel to Samson’s mother about what was God’s plan of giving her a son despite of her being a sterile. The theology of deliverance was used in the New Testament particularly in the death of Jesus Christ when he died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins of humankind and for the deliverance of their soul from the agony of God’s wrath.Obviously, Samson did not realize this. He was concern only of his own will.

In fact, under Israel’s culture, it was forbidden for them to marry non-Israelites. The events that happened a little later proved that Samson himself was under God’s punishment because of his own failures. One of these failures was, he broke the nazarite vow by revealing the secret of his hair that caused him to be shaved off. There were two theologies then in the Samson’s narrative.

One, as it has been mentioned above was the theology of deliverance, and the theology of keeping a vow to God.A. The Theology of deliverance According to Johannes Botterweck, Helmer Ringgren, and David Green, “the formula speaks rather of Yahweh’s total act of deliverance described in Ex. 1-15, expressing an analogous theology of deliverance and hope of liberation,” the concept of deliverance both in the book of Exodus and in the New Testament gives an impression of total act of deliverance.

In the case of Samson he has been foretold to become a deliverer but it appears that he did not exactly fulfilled this duty.In his initial performance, he was indeed fulfilling what God wanted but due to his love for Philistine woman he gave in to his weakness. One important lesson that this theology affects us even today is that every one of us has a specific duty to fulfill on this earth. It may not be as big as the duty of Samson or it may not at all the same for everyone, but what is important is that this duty or duties give us a sense of worth as a human being.

It gives meaning to our existence and brings us self-fulfillment if we accomplish our duty with excellence.Samson’s another failure is that de failed to realize exactly what his duty was. It was too late when he realized what God wanted him to do. His prayer to God to allow him one more time to regain his strength in Judges Chapter 16 verse 28 to 29 reveals that inwardly he was changed asking God to give him one more chance.

Today, too many people are either guilty of not doing their duty in society and to their fellowmen because they care only of their own way, or guilty because they do not understand at all that they have moral duties.What they feel instead is hopelessness and emptiness. The tendency is to end their lives because of the emptiness, loneliness, and hopelessness that they have. If indeed we are experiencing this thing, let us learn from Samson, in the hour of extreme negative situation, he simply prayed “Lord allow me one more time to regain my strength.

” B. The Theology of keeping a vow Samson apparently broken up the nazarite bow by allowing himself to fall under the spell of the charm of Delilah, despite that in the Bible time keeping a vow was extremely important.David George Mullan defined “a Vow as a religious promise, made to God willingly of a thing acceptable to him. ” Mullan emphasized that to make a vow is not sufficient.

It means to do a thing. Mulan noted that a vow is distinct from an oath, which is strictly human substance. A vow, Mullan explained, is something strictly interior, “a private law, done out of a religious affection towards God, and dependent upon God’s grace to attain. “ Samson’s commitment to keep a vow was broken up and he had suffered the consequence.

God counts human vow and there is a consequence for violation of it.In the book of the Bible, in Joshua chapter nine, the men of Gibion deceived Joshua into making a covenant that they would serve Joshua and the Israelite provided that Joshua and his men would not attack them. The Gibionites made Joshua and the Israelite that they were from a very far country, but the truth was they just from nearby places that were part of the land to be conquered. Because of the vow Joshua made to the people, they were forced to honor the vow and not engaged the Gibionites to war.

Hundreds of years later this vow was violated by King Saul the very first king of Israel.The Gibion was attacked by Saul and killed many of its inhabitants. For three and a half year there was a famine due to that violation of the vow made many years ago (1 Samuel 21). The lesson here is, God counts us responsible of the promise that we make.

Samson suffered the consequence of failure to honor the vow of being a nazarite. His yes, which had been the instrument for his failure, was the very same thing that was hurt by the Philistines. Today, it is very common for us to make promises. It is easy to make a vow.

Based on the Biblical account of vows and promises, we should always remember that when we make a promise God holds us responsible no matter how long or great it is. Broken promises or vow either to God or to our fellow may mean consequence on our part in the end. Thus it is very important that our yes is really yes and our no is no. Existential (how does it affect us today? ) To relate the biblical fact regarding “vow” in today’s generation especially in dealing with different people of different statuses such as in business and interpersonal dealing, promises and vows have to be of great importance.

Nowadays, wars among nations were minimized because of international treaties, which have to be settled down by engaging in an agreement by different parties. Any violation may result to punishment as declared in the principles of the organization. Thus, in a normal everyday association of people with one another especially with the impact of globalization, people make promises in form of written contract, which is associated with punishment in case of violation. In the same way, people are also responsible to God for any violation of promises and inhuman practices.

God has instituted a society and set up order but human beings fell into sin and everything went wrong. However, God made His way to reach people and brought back order through the death of Jesus. Nowadays, many scholars integrate the teaching of the Bible as they view ethical practices in different line of responsibilities. They are helpful indeed because it is a great source of knowledge about rightful living to maintain orderliness in the workplace and in society.

Though consequences come in form of punishment, God always prove himself to these people by giving punishment in one way or another.Too many people are extremely religious and each group of people makes vows and promises to their own gods. Regardless of religious involvement, it is important for everyone to realize that everyone is responsible to only true God for any action and promises we do before Him. As Jesus said that whatever we do to our fellowmen especially the poor we do it to Him.

Indeed, every man has to perform duties and functions in this world and therefore responsible before God for how they live up to these obligations and expectations. Only God knows who performs well and He will reward or punish men for such actions they commit.

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